Austria Open 2018: Sathiyan's fairytale run comes to an end, ousted by Xu Xin

Sathiyan Gnanasekaran put up a tough fight but lost to World No. 2 Xin Xu in the pre-quarterfinal of the 2018 Austria Open on Friday.

Sathiyan Gnanasekaran in action at the 2018 Austrian Open.   -  ITTF WEBSITE

World No. 2 Xin Xu ended Sathiyan Gnanasekaran's fairytale run at the ITTF World Tour Platinum Austrian Open after he coasted to a 4-1 win in their pre-quarterfinal clash on Friday. 

Sathiyan was trumped by Xu's next-to-perfection placement and powerful smashes. Xu didn't allow the Indian paddler to settle down throughout the match and executed his tactics meticulously.

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The Chinese paddler wrapped up the first game 11-1, with the solitary point for Sathiyan coming from Xu's service error at 10-0. Sathiyan scored his first point of the match in the second game, but it couldn't prevent him from escaping the wrath of Xu's speed and power. He went down 11-7.

Sathiyan showed positive intent throughout the contest. He did not hold back from mixing things up and pulled out a few tricks from his pocket — including a service ace — to win the third game 11-7.

Sathiyan Gnanasekaran celebrates after defeating World No. 16 Marcos Freitas in the 2018 Austrian Open.   -  ITTF WEBSITE

 

Leading 2-1, Xu continued to remain at his best and scored points at will. He clinched the fourth game 11-2. The story was no different in the fifth game as the Chinese paddler sealed the tie 11-1, 11-7, 7-11, 11-2, 11-4.

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Though Sathiyan crashed out at the hands of Xin Xu, he had a great run in the tournament. He claimed a couple of big wins along his path to the round of 16.

Downs Youth Olympic Champion

Sathiyan kicked-started his Austrian Open campaign by beating the newly crowned Youth Olympic Gold Medallist, Wang Chuqin of China in the second preliminary round. Sathiyan sailed to a 4-1 victory as he defeated Chuqin 11-8, 12-14, 11-8, 11-7, 18-16.

Pistej humbled

In the third preliminary round, Sathiyan played a perfect match and showed first signs of sheer dominance by defeating Lubomrr Pistej without dropping a single game. Though all four sets went to deuce, Sathiyan eased past Pistej 13-11, 12-10, 13-11, 12-10.

Breaks into the Main Draw

Sathiyan grabbed headlines after getting the better of World No.17, Jeong Sangeun of Korea and became the only Indian in the tournament to qualify for the main draw in the men's singles category.

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He started off poorly by losing the first two games but staged a fine comeback to complete a 6-11, 11-13, 11-3, 11-8, 11-6, 11-6 win.

"The best win of my career"

Sathiyan termed his Round of 32 victory against World No.16, Marcos Freitas as the best win of his career. In a fiercely contested tie, Sathiyan claimed a splendid victory in the seven-game match by defeating his former Dabang Smashers (Ultimate Table Tennis) teammate 4-11, 11-9, 11-9, 8-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-7.